There is no shortage of articles regarding Health Information Technology (IT). A recent study published in the journal Health Affairs, reviewed articles on health IT and its effect on outcomes, including quality, efficiency and provider satisfaction.
Health IT Incentives
In 2009, Congress passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, billions in payments to hospital and health care professionals provide incentives for incorporating electronic health records (EHRs). The health reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, reinforced the health IT initiative.
The journal's article by authors from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), examined peer-reviewed articles published from July 2007 to February 2010. The ONC authors used methods and section criteria of two previous independent studies to update results.
The new study reveals 92 percent of the articles on health IT reached positive conclusions – 62 percent positive and 30 percent with mixed results, but predominantly positive. The study notes that negative findings of EMRs appeared most often in studies of providers and staff satisfaction.
Health IT in Anesthesia
Most anesthesia services use unique, anesthesia-specific EHRs, known as anesthesia information management systems (AIMS). Recently, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) sent a letter to CMS recommending changes to the meaningful use requirement for EHRs. The EHR incentive program issues payments to eligible hospitals and health care providers that demonstrate meaningful use of the technology.
ASA's position is that while the current requirements make most anesthesiologists eligible for the incentives, they will be unable to satisfy the criteria for compliance.